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Volume 33.3
Autumn 2002

new book notices
Autumn 2002 issue


reviewed by Lee Gurga


Zen Poems, edited by Manu Bazzano, illustrations by André Sollier (London: MQ Publications, 2002). 256 pages, 6" x 6", clothbound, dust jacket. ISBN 1-84072-237-0. $14.95 from Amazon.com.

This is a specially made gift book, profusely illustrated with original sumi-e drawings by André Sollier. It contains translations of haiku by Japanese masters as well as verses by poets writing in English today. In an attempt to connect haiku with the traditional canon of English and American poetry, à la Zen in English Literature and Oriental Classics, it contains contemporary haiku from a wide range of international authors. It also presents poems or fragments by such unlikely "Zen" authors as Emily Dickinson, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Carl Sandburg.

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Haiku: Poetry Ancient & Modern, edited by Jackie Hardy (London: MQ Publications, 2002). 256 pages, 6" x 6", clothbound. ISBN 1-840723-07-6. $20.00 from Amazon.com.

Not to be confused with the classic Haiku Poems Ancient and Modern by Miyamori Asatarô, this is a nicely produced gift book in the same format as Zen Poems (above). The poems are not organized by the five seasons of Japanese haiku as one might expect, but rather by the five elements of Taoist cosmology—wood, fire, earth, metal, and water—which works well enough and provides an interesting variation from other collections. An attractive anthology of contemporary world haiku, with some classics thrown in.

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Haiku Tanka Senryu: Internationalization of Japanese Poems, edited by Ikuyo Yoshimura & Shigeki Nishiyama. (Kyoto: Chugainippohsha, 2002). 290 pages, 4" x 7", perfectbound, colored covers. ISBN 4-925003-07-0-C0082. $15.00 ppd. from Ikuyo Yoshimura, 1-3, Oonawaba 4-chome, Gifu 500-8889, Japan.

Designed for Japanese college students as an introduction to poems written in Japanese genres by people outside Japan, the book contains 124 haiku, 76 senryu, and 75 tanka. Also included are essays on haiku, senryu, and tanka and many black-and-white photographs. The text is in Japanese, but the volume includes translations of Japanese poems into English and English-language poems into Japanese. This is an attractive volume and a worthwhile addition to the international haiku literature.

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A Long Year, by Anita Virgil (Forest, Va.: Peaks Press, 2002). 48 unnumbered pages, 7.5" x 5", stapled. ISBN 0-962856-73-8. $12.00 postpaid, from the author at 202 Merrywood Dr., Forest, VA 24551.

A collection of thirty-five three and four-line haiku and senryu on a year of illness by one of the early masters of American haiku. Cor van den Heuvel writes in the introduction, "A Long Year is, of course, about a very bad year in the author’s life. Beset by illness and sorrow, she perseveres and looks hopefully to another spring. . . . This little book should take a special place of honor among the author’s other justly acclaimed works."


approaching the end
cutting the toenails, too,
becomes hard

bitter cold twilight
a cardinal stares out
of the holly bush

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Moonrock, by Martin Lucas (Ilseworth, Middlesex, England: Ram Publications, 2002). 36 pages, 4" x 6", perfectbound, dust jacket. ISBN 0-9511386-4-2. $7.00 in U.S. bills, from the author at 90 D Fishergate Hill, Preston PR1 8JD, U.K.

Moonrock is new collection of haiku, senryu and tanka from one of Britain’s leading haiku poets and editors. The epigraph to the haiku section is worth the price of the whole collecton: "In the early days [of the BBC] … when nothing newsworthy was deemed to have occurred, [the newsreaders] said so—and played classical music instead."

reading in bed
a book of Chinese verse;
the curtained moon

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If Someone Asks: Masaoka Shiki’s Life and Haiku, translated by the Shiki-Kinen Museum English Volunteers (Matsuyama: Shiki-Kinen Museum, 2001). 74 pages, perfectbound. No ISBN. $7.00 by International Postal Money Order from Matsuyama Municipal Shiki-Kinen Museum, 1-30, Dôgo Kôen, Matsuyama City, Ehime 790-0857, Japan.

This charming book contains a short biography of Shiki and translations of 111 of his haiku. Illustrated with three photos of Shiki and four of his drawings.

a brush and ink and a urinal
inside the mosquito net in autumn

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listening to the rain: an anthology of Christchurch haiku and haibun, edited by Cyril Childs & Joanna Preston (Christchurch, N.Z.: The Small White Teapot Haiku Group, 2002?). 72 pages, 5" x 8", perfectbound. ISBN 0-473-08339-6. US$9.50 from The Small White Teapot Haiku Group, 6 Ballantyne Ave, Christchurch 4, New Zealand.

An attractive collection that shows the quality and diversity of contemporary New Zealand haiku. Contains many senryu and poems with nature images, but few seasonal haiku. Perhaps the best anthology of New Zealand haiku and senryu to date.

my mothers breasts
we both giggle

Joanna Preston

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The Elements/De Elementen: 28 Haiku, by Hans Reddingius (Marginale Uitgeverij, 4 Hoge Woord, Rijsterdijk 25 VW Bakhuizen, Netherlands). Unpaginated, 2" x 2", stringbound. ISBN 90-75951-37-0. No price given.

The 29th in the "Radish" series of haiku mini-chapbooks published by Wim Lofvers. A collection of twenty-eight haiku in Dutch and English.

grijnzend in de regen
drie tuinkabouters


holiday cottage—
three garden gnomes
grinning in the rain

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Ordinary Time, by Marc Thompson (Minneapolis, Minn.: Laughing Gull Press, 2002). 4.25" x 11". No ISBN. $5.00 postpaid from the author at 4821 Drew Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55410).

A short haiku/haibun/tanka sequence on September 11.

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cat, by Cathy Drinkwater Better, and human, by Raven Spirit Walker (Sykesville, Md.: Black Cat Press, 2002?). Each 8 pages, 4" x 4", stapled. No ISBN. $3.00 each, from the author at 613 Okemo Dr, Eldersburg, MD 21784.

A matched set of mini-chapbooks, the first by well-known haiku poet Cathy Drinkwater Better and the second by her less-well-known but deserving cat, translated by Better from the felinese. Six poems in each mini. One by each poet:


the fire
this soft afghan and then—ah!—
scratched beneath the chin

Raven Spirit Walker

lighting the fire
that spot of warmth
where the cat just was

Cathy Drinkwater Better

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Four from Saki Press

Convicts Shoot the Breeze, by Johnny Baranski; ISBN 1-893823-11-3. (Normal, Ill.: Saki Press, 2002). Each 20 pages, 5.5" x 4.25", stapled. $4.50 plus 60¢ postage from Saki Press, 1021 Gregory, Normal, IL 61761-4236.

The road home
beyond the prison wall:
deepening snow

How Fast the Ground Moves, by D. Claire Gallagher; ISBN 1-893823-12-1. (Normal, Ill.: Saki Press, 2002). Each 20 pages, 5.5" x 4.25", stapled. $4.50 plus 60¢ postage from Saki Press, 1021 Gregory, Normal, IL 61761-4236.

winter solstice—
drawing our chairs closer
to the shifting logs

Back Roads with a White Cane, by Elizabeth Hazen; ISBN 1-893823-13-X. (Normal, Ill.: Saki Press, 2002). Each 20 pages, 5.5" x 4.25", stapled. $4.50 plus 60¢ postage from Saki Press, 1021 Gregory, Normal, IL 61761-4236.

breathless heat
a cloud of cigar smoke
on the empty road

Coasting Through Puddles, by Robert Major; ISBN 1-893823-14-8. (Normal, Ill.: Saki Press, 2002). Each 20 pages, 5.5" x 4.25", stapled. $4.50 plus 60¢ postage from Saki Press, 1021 Gregory, Normal, IL 61761-4236.

Playing hide-and-seek
on a long summer’s evening . . .
called home one by one

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©2002 Modern Haiku • PO Box 68 • Lincoln, IL 62656